This week in Kleiner’s Seven Things to Know, Mike Klein takes a look at the top goaltenders in the Premier Division along with other action around the USPHL. Check back every week for everything you need to know about the USPHL.
Reigning USPHL Goaltender of the Year Justin Ketola (PAL) is having another excellent season with a .933 save percentage, but several other netminders are looking to unseat him. Recent Hitmen addition Josh Creelman boasts a league-leading .949 save percentage after five games. The Bruins tandem of Brian McGrath (.938, 3 shutouts) and Ian Milosz (.932) have been stellar, as has Rochester’s Tom Aubrun (.933). Ketola is the only one with a college commitment so far.
After a busy week in the Premier Division, the Islanders Hockey Club has climbed to the top of the standings with a 10-2 record. The first-place Islanders and seventh-place Hitmen are separated by only four points, and the Hitmen vs. Bruins (second place) series this weekend could result in a massive shakeup. Also tied for second are South Shore and PAL, and both will see action this weekend.
In the Elite North, the first-place South Shore Kings and undefeated Islanders Hockey Club will do battle in Tyngsboro on Friday and Sunday. Down South, the Hampton Roads Whalers and their ten-game winning streak lead the way. Dominic Moore, Kyle Perkowski, and Radek Sawicki are all in the top-five in scoring joined by South Shore’s Jasper Korican-Barlay and Jack Sheehan.
This weekend features a major showdown in the Southern Division with the first place Richmond Jr. Generals visiting the second place Hampton Roads Whalers on Friday and Saturday. On tap in the Northern Division is the Jersey Hitmen (third place) hosting the Junior Bruins (second place) on Saturday and Sunday. The Bruins’ Rhett Rampinelli leads the league in scoring with 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists).
Led by Yannick Zehnder (4-7-11 last week), the St. Croix Valley Magicians had a huge weekend, winning all three of their games, and look to keep the momentum going with a tilt at Forest Lake on Friday before hosting Steele County for a pair. The Lakers gave the Magicians two of their three losses so far this season. Chicago takes their 13-0 record into a home-and-home with Illiana this weekend.
Both Selects Academy (2nd) and the Jersey Hitmen (7th) are ranked in the top ten in the latest national 18-and-under rankings. They, along with the Junior Bruins (9-0) are undefeated in league play. Aided by a weekend in which he picked up 9 points, Rochester’s Anthony Abruzzo leads the league in scoring with 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists). Portland’s Bobby DeFriest is also having a tremendous season, with 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) in just 6 league games.
Though the Syracuse Stars have only played six league games, they have the look of a serious contender this season. They are one of three undefeated teams (along with Selects Academy and the Jersey Hitmen) and Richard Pichura (5-11-16), Zach Taylor (6-9-15), and Josef Glamos (8-5-13) are 1-2-4 in scoring. Goaltender Gabe Vinal boasts a superb 1.00 goals against average and .945 save percentage in 153 minutes of play.